When it comes to e-commerce, most people think, “create a site, list your products and start selling.”
I can hear you saying, “I mean, how hard can it be?”
Yes, there were times when this wasn’t hard to do…
And those who capitalized especially on the right time and place really earned much money. But all of these were in the past, without millions of online stores around and before Amazon had taken over the world. Now, there is a crazy competitive environment. Still, many people think “how hard can e-commerce be” after seeing other people’s success, and when they can’t even launch their website (still having debates over the site’s would-be colors) in three months in, they realize things are not really that easy.
Of course, it’s much easier to engage in e-commerce than to open a physical store.
You can use sites such as Wix, Shopify, etc. and create your site via the provided templates. Alternatively, you could open a store in a marketplace or just create an Instagram account and start selling.
It seems pretty easy when you think like that.
- But how will you keep your business alive?
- How will you find the customers to keep your business alive, how would you convince them to do business with you, how will you compete with your opponents?
- How long do you think you can prolong sales through social media or marketplaces?
- What would you do if the marketplace you sell through closes down?
I don’t know why but people overlook these details. But when you look at the big picture, an even more critical problem arises.
Most e-commerce companies in Turkey stay afloat not because they are the best ones but because there are no alternatives. If you are in such a situation, if your customers choose you because they have no other options, you can never be sure that someone better than you will not take over your business. This brings with it many problems, and ironically, many of these problems are closely related to marketing.
As Peter Drucker once said, “Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view”. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.”[i]
In Turkey, from the small enterprises to bigger ones, saving the day is everyone’s goal. What’s sad is, marketers can’t keep themselves from falling into this trap. Even though we have so many marketers out there, when the matters come to marketing, we are still getting stuck.
Of course, one should not forget the fact that due to a lack of competitive environment, marketing efforts in Turkey are not as qualitative as their abroad counterparts. From advertisers to marketing people, from senior executives to finance managers, there is a lot to learn and do for everyone, and we need to learn quickly. Because you cannot survive by only buying and selling products in the sea of big brands.
It is not possible to proceed by ignoring or false positioning marketing. However, I think we enjoy doing this. Otherwise, why would we perpetuate this useless habit?
I bet there are people around all of us who started earning thousands of dollars a month with the little e-commerce sites they set up at home.
I doubt they see this as a success, but I also doubt they spare the time to think about the future
[i]The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker